Removing Enabling Relationships, a Hard but Necessary Step in Alcoholism Recovery
There is nothing about quitting drinking, or quitting any substance for that matter, that is easy. There are no easy steps, and most of the steps involve emotional pain of one form or another. One step that is particularly difficult for people, like me, that are alcoholics, is letting go of friends that are associated with your habit, enablers. There is a wide gap between a person who is still drinking and one who is fighting for their life trying to maintain sobriety and one of the worse things you can do if you are fighting alcoholism is to continue to hang out with friends who drink, go to bars and basically enabled you in the past to continue in destructive behavior.
It is in your best interest to remove yourself from situations and people that enabled your destructive drinking habits. You may ask yourself, “Why do I have to remove my friends from my life just because I am seeking sobriety?” The reason is this, if you continue to hang around with people that enabled you the chances of you remaining sober in the long run are slim to none. It starts out that you are just hanging with them and watching them drink. The next thing you know you are saying to yourself, “I can have just one.” The next thing you know, one turns into two, then two into three. The next thing you know you are picking yourself up off the floor, hung over and bleary eyed and you are back to square one. The point of fighting for sobriety is your life and removing enablers is simply one way of removing the temptation that will always hang around you like a dark cloud if you don’t eliminate enablers from your life.
This is going to be very hard, especially if they are people you have known a long time. Their feelings will probably be hurt and they will feel shunned. Keep in mind that you don’t really owe anyone; I mean ANYONE, any explanations for your choice to become or remain sober! You may choose to sit down and tell them why you can’t be around them, or you may choose to keep them at arms length. You may even go so far as to extricate them completely from your life. Whatever decision you make, you need to stick by it. You have to ask your self this question, “What is more important, how they feel, or my life?” It really comes down to that choice if you are a raging alcoholic, because at the end of the day, if you continue to hang with people you drank with in the past, that are still drinking and going to clubs and bars, people who can’t do things socially without drinking, you are slimming the lottery odds that you will be able to quit drinking and stay sober to absolutely nothing. Chances are, at the end of the day, that the alcohol and pressure will win and it is a battle you don’t want to lose.